We often talk about Great Ideas here. Great Ideas create relevant solutions that go beyond expectations. But not every Great Idea finds a ‘home’, in fact, the basic idea (what does it do and what is in it for me) is often just not enough to get it from the drawing boards into development.
The 6 principles of Great Ideas show the key qualities of ideas made to survive. Ideas that get adopted and cared for by your consumers, clients and/or key decision makers.
Simplicity is finding the core of your idea. The ‘what does it do and what’s in it for me’ of an idea. Design thinking is particularly effective in this part because designers know they made a great design when there’s nothing left to add, or remove from it. This is the required ‘simplicity’ of a great idea.
When people expect your idea, or ‘see it coming’ it loses its ability to stick. It should make sense the moment they hear it, but not before. There should be an element of surprise, mystery or teasing to grab the attention and interest. This is the biggest chunk of the creativity factor’ of an idea.
Being concrete is about being understood and remembered. Being vague will lead to confusion, resilience and eventually the idea won’t make much sense without you there to explain it. A great way to make people understand is to make them experience it – prototyping or visualizing are the obvious tools to be more concrete about your idea.
Helping people believe, and take away suspicion is essential to the adoption of an idea. When you are an authority in your field you will be believed, when you are not – make sure you generate credibility by good research, facts, other authorities and anti-authorities. Building trust is essential, otherwise your Great Idea could just become one of those ‘too good to be true’ ideas.
In order to find support for your Great Idea, you need to make people care. Find out what they care about, play on the irrational needs of people such as status, recognition, a need to connect, share or experience emotions.
Stories summarize all of the above in an effective pitch. Stories are case studies and often exciting events that allows the listener to become part of the experience (and more importantly: the benefits) of your idea. A story is the fastest route into someone’s memory, and the easiest way to convey a lot of extra detail without having spell them out.
Ideas that Stick
In short, first you need to find a way to communicate the ‘what does it do’ (1. simplicity), secondly is the level of creativeness – has it been done before, is it obvious, is it relevant (2. Unexpected)? Thirdly you need to make people understand, and remember your idea by making them experience the idea through prototyping or visualization for instance (3. Concrete).
Next up us the credibility. You need to be trusted as much as the quality of the idea (4. Credible). Then you need to connect to the things they care about – the ‘why should I care?’ (5. Emotional) and last is the pitch, gather the previous factors in a consistent and authentic story that will sell your idea (6. Story).
If you want to know more about the 6 Principles of great ideas, I highly recommend reading the book ‘Made to Stick – why some ideas survive and others die’ by Chip & Dan Heath, or follow their blog.